Saturday, March 11, 2017

INSPIRATION: terrain style chalkboarding

We all need it in our lives. 
Inspiration to come up with new ideas, new plans.
To live our lives.
To make dinner
To get dressed.
To pick pillows.
To pick wall colours.

In my business I need it almost daily to make my brain turn over into the ideas and displays that create the environment I want people to experience when they enter the shop.
From the music you hear walking in the door, the scent that enters your mind and the displays that give you the visual stimulus to bring ideas you need for your own home.

One of my main sources of far away inspiration is Terrain. 
The garden store run by Anthropologie. The closest one to me is almost a 6 hour drive and I have plans to visit this spring in person and wander around with my mouth hanging open.

Now this little shop of mine is small in comparison to Terrain.
And of course small business owned so the sheer volume of product they have is for the moment not close to possible in our small region but I try to blend together the outdoor plant loving lifestyle into all aspects of the shop.

Once it was time for the red to get dropped in the back of the shop and spruce up the chalkboard wall for spring, I stayed after the shop closed one night and ripped the stock down to put it back up.

The fun part of this wall was actually nothing new at the time had come in to make this happen. I just moved and re-jujjed the products we had to go from winter to spring.

***please note that this wall was completed a couple weeks ago and stock has changed/sold so may not be exactly the same when visiting ***

Jill keeps laughing every time I come in from finding vintage and antiques because everything seems to have a weird  wonderland "alice through the looking glass" vibe lately.
I have come across so many rabbit items, top hats, giant heavy pocket watches from yesteryear that I think there may be a white rabbit following me around.

Or maybe that giant clock was a reminder that I should probably set my clocks forward 10 minutes so I am on time.

So who's feeling inspired for the next season.

I say every upcoming season is my favourite but truly I think it is just the bit of change and freshness each new season brings that is really the favourite part.

Have a great weekend everyone,

Don't forget to change your clocks


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Oliver and Rust at home: winter living room feels

Happy Tuesday morning all.

As we approach spring in these parts I thought it high time to share how our living room has been looking and feeling for the winter months. Simple tones, lots of plants and of course lots of textiles.

I did put the few baby items away for these photos but so far we are not drowning in baby bits. Her leaf chair is black and grey and fits right in and we just invested in an activity centre that also isn't hideous. So far mommy isn't losing her head with the bright goodies.

our full winter mantel. a mixture of geometric terrariums, woven demijohns, trophies, brass and african. 

i brought out the lightbulb sculptures that trevor makes for an airy looking display. i love that black and brown looking dish which is actually petrified wood. it's so unique looking and i like it just sitting empty.

 namaste mr. buddha

this is one of my new favourite simple green plants. it is called fittonia [when i was proof reading this post, the damn auto correct kept changing the name of this plant so fingers crossed it comes out alright] and always looks great in a mound. i used an old parts drawer and made a long display. it also isn't a light fussy plant and seems to be doing just great in a semi-low light situation

the barrel table in the front hall is a little bit more on the eclectic side than usual. i brought out one of our large double sided african helmet masks, our collection of chinese calligraphy brushes, ostrich eggs and our bamileke hat [from the same people as the now famous juju hats you see everywhere]

So that's our little bits of vignettes in our main living space for the rest of the winter months until it comes time to start pulling out the spring birds and flowers which I'm feeling like might be soon.

We are actually hoping this coming weekend to do a little redo in our front hallway as the crates that have been used as shelves for a few years need to go prior to a little one starting to walk and pulling them over onto herself. Plus you know, I want to paint so it's a good excuse.

Have a good day everyone,

It's a fun filled day of greenhouses and dirt at the shop as the first of our trio of terrarium classes commences tonight.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

the lovely xerographica: air plant care helping hands

oh xero how i love thee.

you have become a bad collecting habit but since you clean my air i will look the other way and continue to hoard....ahem collect you.

now that, that is out of the way. 
i did a post about air plants last year with a little bit of information regarding their care.

it can be found here

Today we are going to do a much more in depth post on air plant care for everyone out there, for my customers that are nervous to take the first step and for me so i don't forget what I have found out.

Let's start at the beginning

The most common problem I see when people are just starting out with air plants is people assuming that by their name air plants require only air to survive.
The term of air plant actually refers to the plant not requiring soil to survive but because it is a plant still requires watering in our homes.

Air plants are epiphytic, which means they grow on other plants or trees without causing the original plant harm. Their native environments are in Central America and South America.

Here are some of the best air plant care practices we have found through instruction from my greenhouse and through trial and error in actual home and store environments.


- air plants need medium bright light but never direct sunlight as your air plant can get a sun burn and die. air plants can tolerate being not right in the window and even into your room farther but they cannot be kept in a room with no windows or lighting. 

- air plants can get away with using fluorescent lighting however keeping in mind that this is not natural daylight and the plant will need to be close to the light source and for about 12 hours a day for this method to work. worst comes to worst if you are trying to brighten your office space, find a window on the weekend and place it on a desk or chair near the window [remember not in direct sunlight] 


watering your air plant is the hardest part of the instructions as everyone's homes differ and in canada our seasons change.
air plants require high humidity to thrive. depending on the amount of light your air plant is receiving you will need to mist with a water bottle in between waterings to keep the plant healthy.

you really need to take a look at the place you are putting your air plant. is it getting a lot of light? how warm do you keep your home? are you placing your plant in a very dry space? these questions will help you adapt your air plant care for success. just saying water every 2 weeks and mist once a week all year may not work for you as your home changes so dramatically.

so now that i have confused you lets get a starting point:

small air plants should be soaked every 1-2 weeks in a vessel of water large enough to cover completely with room temperature tap water. allow to soak for 15-20 minutes, remove, shake out the excess water and allow to dry on a towel UPSIDE DOWN in a bright space.

large air plants like the xerographicas pictured here can be soaked every 2-3 weeks for 20 minutes and shaken to remove excess water and allow to dry upside down until their grey colours starts returning indicating they aren't soaking wet anymore.

all air plants can be misted 1-2 times per week.

IMPORTANT side note information for watering:
- air plants should always be watered in the morning to early afternoon only, never at night as watering interrupts the plants ability to breathe properly and extends drying time

- your plant from the time soaking ends should be allowed to dry in 1-4 hours. any longer and the plant can succumb to rot around the root ball.

- plant not drying in a timely fashion? i have found luck with turning on my furnace fan [not turning on the heat, just the fan] and allowing my plants to sit on the vent for 10 min to help get air up into the roots.

i am going to give you my example at home for watering plants

My air plants all sit into the rooms receiving medium light.
We keep our home at 65 degrees at this time of year so, cool.
We have a humidifier on our furnace and I have a free standing home humidifier we use in the bedrooms in the winter  plus I am a plant hoarder so, moderately humid

I water my air plants every 2-3 weeks in the winter and mist completely 2 times per week.
It takes my large xerographicas 2 hours to dry on a towel on my kitchen counter with each receiving 10 minutes on a furnace vent.

In the summer time,
We keep our home at 75 degrees which means our air conditioning is not running full tilt as we are outside mainly and our home keeps the humidity from the outdoors

In the summer I water my air plants once a week and mist once a week.

See the variation and difference depending on location? Some people keep their home at 75 degrees in the winter with a wood burning stove. Hot and dry so your instructions would vary greatly from the care my plants receive but it just means that you need to adjust to keep your plant happy.


Generally air plants are easy going when it comes to the temperatures they live in. They can do well anywhere from 55-90 degrees and like their nights to be cool just like orchids.

The plant will start to get wrinkled if they are being under watered and if you are over watering, unfortunately you will know. The centre of the plant will let go and when you go to shake after watering your whole plant will fall apart.

Air plants can flower once in their life time as well as grow little pups off their sides that later become their own air plant. Pups shouldn't be removed until they are about a 1/3 of the mother plants size as they are feeding off the mother for nutrients when they are tiny.

You can also trim any dead curls off the tails of your air plants just be careful not to cut too much into a healthy leaf, dead parts only. The good leaves are how your plant breathes.

Well I hope this helps everyone. Feel free to share your success or air plant sorrow stories below. Remember plants like anything else are a learning experience. Just because you kill one does not mean your thumb is black and that you should never look at another plant again. It means you learn from your mistakes and enjoy the process.

Have a great day,


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Winter at home: the dining room

Coming off a most glorious long weekend of weather here in the Niagara Region and I was even home for a few hours during the sunshine. I did a little plant maintenance that I have been neglecting, took Emma and Franklin for a walk and snapped some photos of the main floor of our house. I upgraded my camera recently to a new model of what I was using and I am still getting used to the differences. They aren't big differences but enough that when I go to edit photos afterwards I can see things that I need to work on still.

For those that are curious I went from a Sony NEX-5R to the Sony a6000. Both are mirrorless cameras which means they have generally the same capabilities as a DSLR but are half the size which means I can tote my camera around with me a lot easier. I am quite loving the new camera especially the inclusion of an actual viewfinder on the back instead of just the little screen which helps so much in daylight.

Enough blabbering about my camera and onto the pretty stuff. Christmas seems so long ago now and when we took everything down I was going into a zen less is more thing, and started with the dining room. I know the minimalists are laughing because there isn't really a lot less but it felt airier to me at the time. I dragged out a buddha head i had in storage for almost 5 years now and went to town.

the table covering is not a tablecloth but a piece of india batik fabric i have been using in the front hall on our chair. i wanted it to be lighter looking but still a bit global and this fit the bill perfectly. i layered a grain sack on top for interest but also for weight as the fabric really isn't heavy enough to be a tablecloth but too bad, i liked it so it stayed.

after i drapped the print in the front hall with a boxwood garland i loved how it looked so i moved the one in here onto our elephant print and am thoroughly enjoying the almost crown like look on the print.

this photo is one i have never been able to capture before. the wider angle of my lens allows me to share the buffet right up and around to my ironstone collection.
still working on settings but the fact that i can do this now is quite exciting.

on the table i brought out the green capitol that used to be in our living room and put a tall vase in the centre. originally i was going to plant it but added 2 ostrich eggs instead and really love the light almost quirky effect it adds.

the mortar and pestle has made multiple appearances in this room and was found at a flea market in toronto years ago.

i adopted 2 new plant babies in this room. the above agave plant which is sharp as a razor on the ends but looks fantastic and is so easy to care for and the giant calathea below i just added into a lined wicker basket.

Well thanks for dropping by my dining room today.
I have an interesting update on care for air plants tomorrow after trials and tribulations that may help some of you.

The rest of today will be consumed with paperwork and watching you tube videos to help me finish setting up the new online store.

Yep you read that right non-locals. I am getting closer, so much closer but there are a ton of wrinkles to get through first so wish me luck.

As Always,


What I'm listening to:
Man on Fire: Edward Sharpe & the magnetic zeros
Waves: St Paul & the broken bones
Moving on and getting over: John Mayer

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Winter at home: upstairs

Good morning everyone.

It seems that every season that comes along I change my mind about which time of year I like my home the most. In Canada we generally get to experience the 4 seasons in their entirety and although this year has been unseasonably mild for us, it technically is still winter.

Winter decor doesn't necessarily mean piles of pinecones, even though I have done that before in the past as well. 
This year is still all about the plants for me (kinda handy that this years pantone colour is "greenery") and I love styling my home without decor that signifies a holiday or season, even for just a little while. Along with the greenery colour, my long time collection and love of african and global art seems to falling right on trend as well. Woohoo!

I haven't been able to take any photos of the main floor of our home for a few weeks as it may be warmer than normal but with the absence of bright white snow and sunshine it kind of feels like night all the time and we have a lot of darkness happening that makes photography a smidge difficult.

So for today we shall do a leisurely wander around our upstairs hallway and bedroom.

this little succulent tree and it's pot are my newest and favourite addition to my plant family. the pot is one of my favourites that we carry in store.

these little greenhouses and terrariums are just so much fun and so "it" right now according to the decor powers that be but, i just love the weathered wood look and the fact that it keeps the humidity going around my precious little heart fern.

i have had this bronze bust now for almost 11 years and it is one of the very first pieces of african bronze that i bought when i first started my collecting. it has been in so many different places in our home and previous home and i still love the patina and colour of it.

a new addition to this wall. the macrame runner has been hanging for awhile but the stave holder just arrived. they will be coming into the shop once they are finished being made but they are from niagara wine barrels that have been decommissioned and the hook that my air plant is resting on is made from the actual rings of the barrels.
because there is a flat spot and a hook i can see me changing out what sits on the stave a lot but for now i am quite happy to have it hold one of my prized xerographicas

And a small peek into the bedroom for now.

super neutral with a bit of an antler theme. the antler wreath is actually resin but super realistic looking. i like how thin it is on the window.

Have a great day everyone,


What I'm listening to:
Wish I knew you: The Revivalists
Lenny: Stevie Ray Vaughn
Cautionary Tale: Dylan Leblanc